A few days ago, I was talking with a friend about the old consoles and we agreed on one thing. Each generation of them is getting progressively smaller and soon enough it will be pretty hard to maul a person to death with it. To give that insane insane statement some context, we were talking about Sega Master System earlier (seriously, just google how massive that thing was). Hm, I guess even with some clarification, that statement above isn’t making me look any better. At least in the eyes of the law. Regardless, the Sega Master System was my entry console into the world of tough-as-nails platformers and arcade games. Memory card, saving games…..what’s that? Nuh uh, you had to dedicate a whole day for it, pretty much memorize every enemy and hope you pull it through. That’s how I was taken to those childhood memories of joy and torture while looking at the store page of Blazing Chrome. The screenshots look good, the gameplay seems fluid so let’s dive deeper into it and see if it’s any good.
“Humans are expendable after an AI controlled robot army take over the world. They survive in hiding while their hunters rule the surface. When a small rebel group gets an intel about a big AI’s power plant, the machines strike their camp before they can organize an attack. Choose to play as Mavra, a super badass human resistance soldier, or Doyle, the equally groovy and deadly insurgent robot. This suicide mission will result in heavy casualties and a ton of lock-and-load fast-paced action where scraping robots and blazing chrome with your powerful weapons is the only thing standing between you and your freedom”. Oooh, they said the title of the game in the description blurb – Blazing Chrome! My silliness aside, the introduction is short, simple and tells you everything you need to know. The story plays well into that “garbage metal” aesthetic that I love so much from the Metal Slug series. And speaking of playing well…
Blazing Chrome is a game that hides a lot under the hood. You might expect a simple run n gun arcade but you get a lot more than you’ve bargained for. There is a huge selection of special weapons, 5 highly detailed environments as well as a huge selection of enemies to test those weapons on. To keep the game even more interesting, sometimes you’ll spend some time shooting from a hoverbike or piloting a high powered mech. One thing to point out, though. In the spirit of that whole retro era, the game very well captures the atmosphere of a good run n gun arcade – as well as the difficulty. The first level in the game might give you some leeway but after that memorizing enemy placements and learning from your mistakes is a must. And mistakes you shall have, trust me. On the bright side, the game is unforgiving but never unfair. I can say with a clear conscience that every time I died was absolutely my fault, a casual misstep or a case of being greedy while fighting a boss. One thing is for sure, there was never any reason to blame controls for it (only my lack of skill). The controls are fluid and super responsive, whether you’re on foot or in a mech/hoverbike.
The praise for the controls had to be given, but that’s not all. For such a small team, JoyMasher went above when it came to visuals. The environments are incredibly detailed and colorful, with great attention to details. There’s no dip in quality or details when it comes to characters or enemies or bosses (and some of them are just amazingly designed). There is a good chance you’ll be replaying some levels only so you could enjoy the scenery…..for a short 1-2 seconds before you get mowed down. Pay attention to the screen, after all.
As far as the audio angle goes, it’s not on the same levels as visuals but at the same time, I can’t say anything bad about it since most of the soundtrack reminds me of glory days of Contra, except it’s amped up to 11 in Blazing Chrome. At the same time, there’s no memorable tune or anything that stands out but the music does its job rather well to keep you company or pump you up during boss sequences. All of the weapons also have distinctive sounds. While I couldn’t find anywhere official weapon names, the audio worked well on that front that I came up with my own such as shooty tooty, bwoangh laser, bzzzzt gun and kabloooey launcher. What can I say, I’m easily amused.
Blazing Chrome captures very well the glory days of the SEGA & SNES era. The atmosphere, the difficulty, the retro tunes…everything is there. I’ll say again, with all that also comes the challenging difficulty from the said era but for me, it’s also part of the charm of the game. The incredible visuals, tight controls and attention to details made me fall in love with the game. While draws a lot from the golden years of Contra and Metal Slug, Blazing Chrome offers a lot to establish its own identity.
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